The 24-70mm is undoubtedly one of the most desired lenses because of obvious reasons. The focal length range in a single lens enables you to capture multiple genres of photography such as street, landscape, portraits, and travel.
Recently, I got my hands on the Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 Lens, and I have been using it for more than a month now. I also made a comparison with the Canon variant, which I talk about at the end along with sample images.
Build quality and ergonomics
Talking about the construction of the Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 G2, it consists of 17 elements in 12 groups and 9 rounded diaphragm blades. This lens has moisture-resistant construction, and the front element has fluorine coating which protects against dust, dirt, and smearing.
The moment I held the Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 G2, my first impression was that this lens feels premium. With the new SP series, Tamron has revised the design of their professional lenses and made them more sturdy. The AF/MF and VC ON/OFF switches are of superior quality, and the rubber grips for focus and focal length adjustment feel comfortable.
One thing that impresses me on this Tamron lens is the placement of the focal length ring. I have been used to the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens which features the focal length ring placed near to the camera. Whereas, the Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 G2 lens has it placed near to the front element. After using both the lenses, I feel that the focal length ring placement is much more user-friendly on the Tamron lens.
In regards to technology advancements, the Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 G2 lens is compatible with TAP-in Console (to be purchased separately) for fine-tuning focus adjustments and also to update the lens firmware.
Focus speed and accuracy
The lens features an Ultrasonic Silent Drive auto-focus motor which is designed to provide quick and accurate focusing performance. After using the lens for a month, I feel the focus is precise and swift, even with fast moving subjects. As a street and travel photographer, my priority is to nail the focus, and this lens compliments my camera very well.
I also took the Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 lens for a spin in low light conditions, and I was happy to see how fast it locked the focus. Even in continuous focus mode, it hardly hunted for focus. Overall, this lens is a charmer in the focus speed and accuracy department.
After using the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens for almost 3 years, the Tamron lens did not make me feel that I was using a slower lens. It was almost the same experience for me. With the closest focusing distance of 1.25ft or 15inches (same as the Canon variant), I was also able to shoot some close up shots.
Sharpness and Image Quality
There is one highlighting feature in this Tamron zoom lens which the Canon variant is missing, and that is VC (Vibration Compensation) or Image Stabilization. VC helps in minimizing the camera shake by up to 5 stops, which can be effective in low light conditions.
The VC on this lens helped me shoot at slower shutter speeds such as 1/10th -1/15th sec and lower ISO values without introducing shake in the images. Practically, I was able to achieve 3.5-4 stops of Image Stabilization performance with this lens, which I could not from my Canon variant.
Canon vs Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8
From f/2.8 to f/4 the Canon is slightly sharper at the center and has better contrast performance. But as I tested, these lenses at f/4 and narrower, both started generating similar results in terms of sharpness and contrast.
Overall, the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens scores better in terms of image quality. Whereas, for me, the Tamron is a winner considering its price-to-quality ratio and the build quality.
At a good price point, the Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 Lens seems like a great choice for travel, street, wedding, and even landscape photography. The image quality is superior, and the focus speed and accuracy is spot on. If you are looking for a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens which is slightly cheaper than the Canon//Nikon variant but still performs very well, this could be an ideal choice.